The search to look as good as we can, for as long as we can, is as strong today as it's always been. In our bid to iron out the wrinkles we spend billions being made up, made over and made beautiful.
These days there's any number of face rejuvenating remedies. Cosmetic surgery is the most dramatic solution, but what about non-surgical face-lifts? Do they work?
We've asked three women to road-test three popular non surgical face-lift treatments.
But before we get started, let's find out how we get wrinkles in the first place, from skin expert, Dr Natasha Cook: "The sun contributes to more than 90 percent of the visible aging in the skin. The way the sun forms a wrinkle is it breaks down the support structures in the endoderm it's known as the collagen or elastin. As these fibres break down we lose support and the skin becomes more easily creaseable."
That's how wrinkles are born, but can we get rid of them?
Our first tester is Ruth Andrews, a 45-year-old ambulance officer and mum. We've given her a specially formulated high-end anti-wrinkle face cream which she'll use morning and night for 60 days.
Tester number two is Barbara Hayden, a 52-year-old paralegal and mother of three. Barbara's betting that Botox injections will do the trick for her crow's feet.
"I'm just hoping that if the Botox can smooth out these lines, just a little tiny bit, It will make me feel as I do inside I don't feel my age," she says.
Our third candidate is 44-year-old Dianne Everett, an optical mechanic and mother of one. She's gone for a state-of-the-art laser treatment to give her skin a lift.
"I'm hoping the procedure will kind of tighten my skin, lifting more off from sagging here and also the fine lines around the eyes, that they will go," says Dianne.
To get a clear picture of what the treatments will be tackling, our volunteers undertake a preliminary face check.
First up, it's photo time photographs taken will be used to compare each woman's appearance before and after their treatment.
Next, a silicone replica of their wrinkles. Once they've hardened, the moulds will be measured for skin roughness and wrinkle depth.
"When I saw the lines I was a bit surprised there are a lot there," says Barbara.
All three are hoping to get rid of the crow's feet and creases. The question is: which treatment will do it best?
Barbara's Botox jabs are courtesy of its number one fan, Sydney-based aesthetic nurse, Marilyn Cassetta.
"Unequivocally, Botox is the newest phenomenon. It is, I think, ranked around the world as the number-one non-surgical cosmetic procedure today," she says.
Botox is a highly toxic substance that causes severe food poisoning, but when it's injected into our wrinkles, it makes our muscles relax and our lines disappear. At least, that's the theory.
Treatments start at around $300 for a single session and you'll need to spend at least $1200 a year if you want to stay looking good all the time.
Botox injections do carry some risks. If Marilyn misses her mark, Barbara could end up with a droopy eyebrow.
Here's something for the trivia buffs: each unit she's injecting is precisely equivalent to the dose it takes to kill a mouse.
"That's it, we're done and in less than a week it's adios to wrinkles," says Marilyn to Barbara.
Meanwhile Ruth's still plugging away at the face cream that experts claim can reverse visual signs of aging. The cream is rich in antioxidants and alpha-hydroxy acids, which remove dead skin cells and help reduce the appearance of mild scars and wrinkles.
At $40 a pop, it's a lot cheaper than Botox. But after four weeks, has it made much difference?
"I actually think my skin is looking clearer and brighter, but as for the lines, I probably think they're still there," Ruth says.
Our third volunteer, Dianne, has been prepped for her laser light skin tightening treatment. Cosmetician, Janesse Taylor-Saar will be overseeing proceedings.
This high-tech process uses intense pulse light to treat the surface wrinkles, plus radio frequency waves to heat the deeper tissues. The idea is this stimulates collagen growth, which is what keeps our skin looking young.
"We're born with wonderful collagen in our skin, we're all plumped and everything and as we age we lose the fullness in our skin so anything that was up here, drops to down here. So we become a little heavy and this just triggers the memory and you get that plumpish look again," says Janesse.
Skin tightening and rejuvenation is normally done as a course of five treatments over five months. But the downside? This laser treatment comes at $1000 a session that's a massive $5000 to get the full effect.
After the procedure Dianne's skin looks a little raw, so was it a painful process?
"No it was good, it just feels like a grabbing sensation with a little bit of heat but otherwise it's quite comfortable and relaxing."
Before their non surgical face lifts, the depths of the women's wrinkles were recorded, along with photographic face maps.
It's now time for some follow up photographs. Has there been a dramatic change? The man with the results is Dermatest Lab director, John Staton.
"Well the results were quite impressive, all of the test subjects were actually able to show some improvement," he says.
But just how much improvement are we talking about? According to the results, Dianne's wrinkle depth reduced by 49 percent, Barbara's by 39 percent and Ruth's by 23 percent.
Skin tightening: 49 percent
Botox: 39 percent
Face cream: 23 percent
So the skin rejuvenation and tightening treatment appears to be slightly more effective than the Botox injections and twice as effective as Ruth's cream.
"I didn't think the cream would have much of a benefit, but I have seen results so I'm quite pleased," Ruth says.
Dianne too liked her results: "The skin tone is so much nicer and more even, so I'm really excited about that."
"I could really see a big difference … it was very noticeable," says Barbara.
Remember, you don't have to spend a lot of money to look good. Here are some tips.
- Stay out of the sun as much as possible and when you are in it, make sure you're wearing a hat, sunglasses and a good sunscreen.
- Use a skin cream which contains fruit acids, salicylic acid and vitamin A for maximum maintenance.
- Eat a balanced diet and avoid losing weight suddenly.
- Don't smoke.
At the end of the day, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, wrinkles or not. But an added tip for keeping your skin looking young and healthy is to use a good moisturiser every day.
- Which side of our face is likely to have the most lines? The right side. People who drive cars a lot have the right side of their face exposed to the sun, causing more damage to the skin on that side.